NCAA

Track & Field Collects Postseason Award Recognition

Track & Field Collects Postseason Award Recognition


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State track & field collected five postseason awards on Thursday. Cheickna Traore and Hayley Kitching received indoor track athlete of the year recognition from both the USTFCCCA and the Big Ten, while Head Coach John Gondak was named the USTFCCCA Men’s Indoor Coach of the Year.

Capping off a historic indoor season, the Nittany Lion duo of Traore and Kitching became the first Penn State teammates ever to sweep the Big Ten Indoor Track Athlete of the Year awards in the same season. Kitching’s award is Penn State’s women’s team’s fourth-ever indoor conference award and first since Shavon Greaves won in 2010. Traore’s honor is the men’s squad’s fourth ever and first since David Lucas won on the field side in 2018. Isaiah Harris’ 2017 win was the last for the Nittany Lion men on the indoor oval.

Head Coach John Gondak earned his first track Coach of the Year honor from the USTFCCCA since 2017. The honor is the 12th regional award of his Penn State tenure. Traore’s regional honor is his fifth career USTFCCCA regional award, his first at the Division I level. Kitching received her first regional honor.

THE HONOREES

Cheickna Traore

 

–       Big Ten Men’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year

–       USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region Men’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year

 

Traore proved he belonged among best sprinters in the nation in his first season with Penn State. He capped off his first indoor campaign as a Nittany Lion with a runner-up finish in the men’s indoor 200-meters at the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships, running a school record and Ivorian National record-setting 20.30. He also earned First Team All-America honors in the men’s 60-meter dash with a seventh-place finish in the finals.

Before the national meet, Traore collected three conference crowns at the 2024 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field championships. The sprinter began with the 60-meter title, setting a school record with a 6.54 to win the crown. Traore then collected the 200-meter title with a Big Ten Indoor Championship meet record-setting 20.44. He finished his outing anchoring Penn State’s 4×400-meter relay group to a Big Ten title with a 3:06.36. Traore was named the Big Ten Men’s Track Athlete of the Championships for his performance.

Hayley Kitching

 

–       Big Ten Women’s Indoor Track Athlete…

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